STATEN ISLAND, NY–An estimated 450,000 unsold copies of Time's special April 22 Earth Day issue were trucked Monday from the magazine's New Jersey distribution center to the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island.
The discarded copies of the issue–which features articles about conservation, biodiversity, and recycling, as well as guest editorials by President Clinton and Leonardo DiCaprio–are expected to decompose slowly over the next 175 years.
Last week, The New York Times noted that the advertising industry is pulling back from green-themed marketing, having "grasped the public's growing skepticism over ads with environmental messages.
And advertisers' concerns are buttressed by the recent sales figures for magazines that have published a "Green Issue" this year.
Time's Earth Day issue was the newsweekly's third-lowest-selling issue of 2008 so far, according to ABC Rapid Report. A typical issue of Time sells 93,000 or so copies on the newsstand; the April 28 installment, which substituted green for red in the magazine's trademarked cover design, sold only 72,000. (As usual, The Onion nailed it.)
Elle's May issue sold a mere 275,000 copies, versus the title's year-to-date average of 328,500. The last issue of Elle to sell that badly was in May 2008 — another green issue, probably not coincidentally.